Rollator Walkers – Directory of Scientific Studies

Rollator Walkers – Directory of Scientific Studies

By Maurice

Rollators Scientific Studies

Rollators walkers (often just called "walkers") have many obvious safety benefits for seniors and the disabled. But did you know there's a lot of scientific research on walkers that have found some little-known benefits of walkers?

On this page we've assembled every study on rollator walker benefits that we've been able to find. Browse below to learn more!


Table of Contents


Study Name

Publication

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Objective

To determine whether walking with a rollator by persons 75 years of age or older is of sufficient intensity to improve aerobic fitness.

Methods

A cross-sectional cohort study.

Results

Mean V̇o2 was .718L/min. Mean RER was .93 (95% confidence interval [CI], .89−.97). Thirteen participants showed an RER below 1.0, which indicates a negligible contribution of anaerobic expenditure. Walking with a rollator required a mean of 2.8 (95% CI, 2.4−3.2) METS, 71.9% of V̇o2max (95% CI, 65.2%−78.6%), 50.5% (95% CI, 39.4%−61.5%) of V̇o2 reserve, and 75.2% (95% CI, 67.6%−82.8%) of estimated maximal heart rate.

Conclusion

For people 75 years of age or older, walking with a rollator is an activity of moderate to high level of intensity, with the capacity of improving aerobic fitness.

Study Name

Publication

Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science
University of Toronto

Objective

To examine the effect of a rollator on functionai exercise
capacity in individuals with severe COPD and to determine which individuals would benefit most from using a rollator

Methods

: 40 subjects were studied on wo separate days in the
same week. Two six-minute walk tests (6MWTs) were performed on each day. One 6MWT was performed unaided and the other using a rollator, with the order of the test randomized on the fint day and revened on the second

Results

There was a significant reduction in modified Borg rating of dyspnea (pe0.001) and duration of rest (p=0.001) with use of the rollator. For subjects who walked less than 300 meten unaided, there was also a significant improvement in distance waked (p4.02). Requirement of a rest during the unaided 6MWT was the only significant predictor variable for irnprovement in functional exercise capacity
with use of the rollator (p<0.005

Conclusion

Rollators are effective in improving fùnctional exercise capacity by reducing perception of dyspnea and rest duration in individuals with severe COPD. hdividuals who walk less than 300 meters ancilor who require a rest during an unaided 6W will benefit most kom using a rollator in ternis of reductions in breathlessness and rest time and an improvement in distance walked

Study Name

Publication

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention

Objective

Although it has been well documented that the progressive exercise limitation associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be helped with an assistive device, such as a rollator, many individuals use it infrequently. This study seeks to explore the views of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease regarding the use of rollators

Methods

A qualitative study design was used. Twelve individuals with moderate to very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were recruited from an outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program to participate in semistructured interviews. Inductive thematic analysis was applied

Results

Analysis revealed 5 themes: (1) "acquiring a rollator" reflecting the process of obtaining a device either via a health care professional or self-referral; (2) "acceptance versus resistance" describing opposing views regarding rollator usage; (3) "rollator roadblocks" describing practical barriers to use; (4) "participation" reflecting how rollators can promote reintegration into society; and (5) "revising perceptions" whereby participants embodied an eventual acceptance of rollators

Conclusion

Rollator acquisition appeared to be a unilateral, prescriptive process. Individuals described initial resistance to use, although in the long-term, negative perceptions were outweighed by the functional and social benefits of rollator use. Encouraging users to participate in deciding whether to use a rollator and providing adequate education on its indications, benefits, barriers, and facilitators are likely to promote optimal use of a rollator.

Study Name

Publication

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention

Objective

To determine the effects of using a rollator in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Methods

Studies were systematically identified from literature searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL, PEDro, PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library databases and the reference lists of included studies. Two reviewers independently selected randomized controlled or crossover studies examining the effects of rollator usage compared with no aid in individuals with COPD. Methodologic quality was assessed by 2 reviewers independently using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool.


Two reviewers also used a customized form to extract characteristics of and outcomes for subjects related to exercise capacity, symptoms, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), physiological, and gait parameters. Weighted mean differences (WMD) with 95% CI were calculated using a fixed-effects model

Results

A total of 7 studies (126 participants) were included. Use of a rollator during a 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) improved distance walked (WMD = 13 m; 95% CI, 5-22) and lowered end-6MWT dyspnea rating (WMD = 0.97; 95% CI, 0.63-1.32). Longer-term use did not appear to impact exercise capacity or HRQOL, although this may be related to the frequency of use

Conclusion

When used in the short-term, rollators resulted in a small increase in 6MWT and a reduction in dyspnea. Details on patient adherence are required to accurately evaluate the longer-term effects of rollator usage

Study Name

Publication

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Objective

The ability to walk, fundamental to a good quality of life, is affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Rollator-style walkers and oxygen are both used clinically to improve the ability to walk in people with mildly hypoxemia and exertional desaturation. However, there is little evidence on which is more efficacious and significant cost differences exist between the interventions. This trial directly compared rollator-style walkers to oxygen.

Methods

A single-blind randomized controlled crossover trial was used to assess the effect of rollator-style walkers compared to oxygen (4 liter per minute) on distance walked, oxygen saturation, perceived exertion, speed, and number of rest breaks measured by the six-minute walk test. Open- and closed-ended questions were used to elicit the subject’s values and feelings towards the iterventions.

Results

Eleven participants were recruited (May 2001 to January 2002) from a tertiary rehabilitation centre . The patients mean age (standard deviation) was 67.5+ 16.6 years, mean percent predicted forced expiratory velocity in one second (FEV1) was 26.1 26.8 %, and mean PaO2, was 61.2 2.3 mmHg. There were no significant period by treatment interactions, or period effects on any outcome. Oxygen significantly outperformed the rollator - style walker on final oxygen saturation (7.8 percent (95 % CI 5.0 to 10.6)) and perceived exertion (1.3 points (95 % CI 0.1 to 2.4)) but there was no difference noted on distance walked (22.2 metres (95 % CI: -76.7 to +32.4)) or speed ( -0.02 metres / second (95 % CI: 0.13 to 0.08 ) ) . Compared to unassisted walks, oxygen improved distanced walked (51.3 metres (95 % CI 18.6 to 84.0)) but rollator - style walkers did not (31.4 metres (95 % CI - 3.4 to 66.2)). Participants indicated that both interventions improved their walking, but more participants preferred the rollator style walker

Conclusion

In spite of oxygen reducing arterial desaturation rollator - style walkers resulted in similar distance walked compared to oxygen. However, when compared to unassisted walks, oxygen appears to be more effective in increasing distance walked. Rollator - style walkers are a lower cost alternative to oxygen in individuals with COPD and exertional desaturation whose resting arterial oxygen 55-65 mmHg.

Study Name

Publication

CHEST JOURNAL

Objective

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of rollator use on health-related quality of life in patients with COPD

Methods

Randomized controlled trial

Results

Thirty-one postrehabilitation patients with COPD were randomized to receive a rollator (n = 18) or usual care (n = 13) for 8 weeks and to record the frequency of rollator use. Outcome measures at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks included the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) and the 6-min walk (6MW). During acute testing, subjects consistently walked further when assisted (baseline 6MW: 292 +/- 67 m vs 263 +/- 67 m; 8 weeks: 283 +/- 65 m vs 259 +/- 68 m [+/-SD]; p = 0.013). However, provision of a rollator at home was not associated with group differences in the CRQ (p > 0.08) or in the unassisted 6MW (p = 0.4) or the assisted 6MW (p = 0.5). Eight of 18 subjects assigned to the rollator group used the rollator less than three times per week. Regular users demonstrated a consistent improvement in mastery compared with infrequent users (4 weeks: 4.7 +/- 0.6 vs 5.2 +/- 0.8, respectively; 8 weeks: 5.3 +/- 0.8 vs 4.7 +/- 0.4; p = 0.014)

Conclusion

Despite evidence of effectiveness during acute testing, this study did not demonstrate a rollator effect on quality of life or exercise capacity when the rollator was provided at home, for a longer period. Actual use of a rollator may be an important determinant of its effect. Therefore, when prescribing a rollator, health-care professionals should attempt to identify those most likely to use it.

Study Name

Publication

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie

Objective

This study aimed to compare uphill and downhill walking with walking level in geriatric patients using a wheeled walker. Furthermore, we investigated the effect of using a wheeled walker with respect to dual tasking when walking level

Methods

A total of 20 geriatric patients (median age 84.5 years) walked 10 m at their habitual pace along a level surface, uphill and downhill, with and without a standard wheeled walker. Gait speed, stride length and cadence were assessed by wearable sensors and the walk ratio was calculated

Results

When using a wheeled walker while walking level the walk ratio improved (0.58 m/[steps/min] versus 0.57 m/[steps/min], p = 0.023) but gait speed decreased (1.07 m/s versus 1.12 m/s, p = 0.020) when compared to not using a wheeled walker. With respect to the walk ratio, uphill and downhill walking with a wheeled walker decreased walking performance when compared to level walking (0.54 m/[steps/min] versus 0.58 m/[steps/min], p = 0.023 and 0.55 m/[steps/min] versus 0.58 m/[steps/min], p = 0.001, respectively). At the same time, gait speed decreased (0.079 m/s versus 1.07 m/s, p < 0.0001) or was unaffected

Conclusion

The use of a wheeled walker improved the quality of level walking but the performance of uphill and downhill walking was worse compared to walking level when using a wheeled walker.

Study Name

Publication

Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health

Objective

What is the comparative clinical effectiveness of preventing falls in older adults using walkers with wheels versus walkers without wheels?

Methods

A limited literature search was conducted by an information specialist on key resources including MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, the University of York Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) databases, the websites of Canadian and major international health technology agencies, as well as a focused Internet search. The search strategy was comprised of both controlled vocabulary, such as the National Library of Medicine’s MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), and keywords. The main search concept was wheeled walkers. Where possible, retrieval was limited to an adult population. No filters were applied to limit the retrieval by study type. The search was also limited to English language. The search was run on June 17, 2019. No date limits were used in the search

Results

The clinical effectiveness of wheeled and fixed walkers was assessed through physiological cost index (PCI), speed 10 m course, heart rate maximum, timed up and go test (TUG), spirometry and reversibility, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), and oxygen saturation.2 Safety outcomes and length of follow-up were not reported

Conclusion

One systematic review2 was identified regarding the comparative effectiveness of walkers with wheels versus walkers without wheels for fall prevention in older adults. The evidence, drawn primarily from two observational studies of cohort and case control design suggested that older patients walking with a non-wheeled frame had reduced mobility, resulting in shorter distances travelled and more energy use compared with patients using wheeled walkers.2 No comparative evidence on hospital admissions, severity of fall and health-related quality of life for the wheeled and fixed walkers was found.

The evidence presented in this report should be interpreted with caution based on the limitations and paucity of comparative data.2 While the systematic review on clinical effectiveness had strengths, there were limitations related to the quality of the included primary studies, potential for patient selection, measurement, and reporting biases.2 These limitations suggest that caution must be taken in making clinical decisions about the effectiveness and safety of wheeled and fixed walkers in the Canadian context. Further research with randomized controlled trial designs addressing wheeled walkers versus walkers without wheels may help to reduce uncertainty and inform clinical practice.

Study Name

Publication

Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 14(1)

Objective

The aim of this cross-sectional observation study was to examine whether spatio-temporal gait parameters derived from mobile instrumented gait analysis can be used to measure the gait stabilizing effects of a wheeled walker (WW) and whether these gait parameters may serve as surrogate marker in hospitalized patients with multifactorial gait and balance impairment

Methods

One hundred six patients (ages 68–95) wearing inertial sensor equipped shoes passed an instrumented walkway with and without gait support from a WW. The walkway assessed the risk of falling associated gait parameters velocity, swing time, stride length, stride time- and double support time variability. Inertial sensor-equipped shoes measured heel strike and toe off angles, and foot clearance.

Results

The use of a WW improved the risk of spatio-temporal parameters velocity, swing time, stride length and the sagittal plane associated parameters heel strike and toe off angles in all patients. First-time users (FTUs) showed similar gait parameter improvement patterns as frequent WW users (FUs). However, FUs with higher levels of gait impairment improved more in velocity, stride length and toe off angle compared to the FTUs

Conclusion

The impact of a WW can be quantified objectively by instrumented gait assessment. Thus, objective gait parameters may serve as surrogate markers for the use of walking aids in patients with gait and balance impairments

Study Name

Publication

Gait & Posture 38(1)

Objective

This unique study systematically examined the impact of a broad range of assistive devices on gait measures during walking in both a straight path and around obstacles in individuals with PD

Methods

Data were collected using the GAITRite and on a figure-of-eight course. All devices, with the exception of four-wheeled and U-Step walkers significantly decreased gait velocity.

Results

The four-wheeled walker resulted in less variability in gait measures and had less impact on spontaneous unassisted gait patterns. The U-Step walker exhibited the highest variability across all parameters followed by the two-wheeled and standard walkers. Higher variability has been correlated with increased falls

Conclusion

Though subjects performed better on a figure-of-eight course using either the four-wheeled or the U-Step walker, the four-wheeled walker resulted in the most consistent improvement in overall gait variables. Laser light use on a U-Step walker did not improve gait measures or safety in figure-of-eight compared to other devices. Of the devices tested, the four-wheeled-walker offered the most consistent advantages for improving mobility and safety.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Objective

To investigate the types of frames used and the processes involved in prescribing frames, and to determine the effects of using a frame.

Methods

The AMED, CINAHL, Embase, and MEDLINE Electronic databases were searched using key terms between 1990 and January 2011. Research papers reporting outcomes about the effectiveness of walking frames in relation to mobility for older people were eligible for inclusion. Sixteen papers were included under the criteria applied, representing 17% of the studies identified. A range of study designs was included. Double-blind review was carried out and quality assessment conducted using CASP critical appraisal tools. Synthesis of literature was carried out on a narrative basis through the development of themes in relation to types of frames, user’s perspective, falls prevention, effects on gait and balance, and physiological effects.

Results

The evidence reviewed is largely of poor quality. Users obtain walking frames from many sources. The evidence reviewed neither proves nor disproves their effectiveness in the prevention of falls. Walking frame use does have an effect on gait patterns and some physiological outcomes. The effect on posture and balance remains unclear.

Conclusion

A need for clinical guidelines in relation to provision of walking frames has been identified. The therapeutic use of walking frames to improve physical fitness merits further research as well as longer-term studies to evaluate the effects over time.

Study Name

Publication

PLOS One

Objective

This work aims to demonstrate the application of a novel methodology to investigate how the type of walking task, the amount of body weight supported by the device (i.e., device loading), and task performance strategy affect stability of rollator users.

Methods

In this context, ten users performed six walking tasks with an instrumented rollator. The combined stability margin “SM” was calculated, which considers user and rollator as a combined system. A Friedman Test was used to investigate the effects of task on SM and a least-squares regression model was applied to investigate the relationship between device loading and SM. In addition, the effects of task performance strategy on SM were explored.

Results

As a result, it was found that: the minimum SM for straight line walking was higher than for more complex tasks (p<0.05); an increase in device loading was associated with an increase in SM (p<0.05); stepping up a kerb with at least 1 rollator wheel in ground contact at all times resulted in higher SM than lifting all four wheels simultaneously.

Conclusion

Hence, we conclude that training should not be limited to straight line walking but should include various everyday tasks. Within person, SM informs on which tasks need practicing, and which strategy facilitates stability, thereby enabling person-specific guidance/training. The relevance of this work lies in an increase in walking aid users, and the costs arising from fall-related injuries.

Study Name

Publication

Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy

Objective

To describe how men and women experience their use of powered wheelchair (PW) and powered scooters (PS) in everyday occupations, in the home and society at large.

Methods

A qualitative research approach with focus group  methodology was used. Four focus groups were created, with men and women as well as PW and PS users in different groups. Applying a descriptive approach, data were analyzed according to the principles described by Krueger.

Results

Three categories emerged and revealed that even though use of PW and PS increased independence and enabled everyday occupations, participants struggled to be
independent powered mobility device (PMD) users. They experienced many accessibility problems in dwellings and in society, described similarly by users of PW and PS. Men and women experienced their use of (PMD differently, especially in relation to the service delivery process.

Conclusion

The study contributes with new knowledge on accessibility for PW and PS users and related service delivery processes, stating that gender differences regarding provision and
training must be taken into account. Occupational therapists can contribute to an enhanced understanding of the PMD users’ challenges in person-environment-occupation transactions in the home and society, and thereby promote occupational justice for PMD users.

Study Name

Publication

AMERICAN FAMILY PHYSICIAN Journal

Objective

Disability and mobility problems increase with age. Assistive devices such as canes, crutches, and walkers can be used to increase a patient's base of support, improve balance, and increase activity and independence, but they are not without significant musculoskeletal and metabolic demands. Most patients with assistive devices have never been instructed on the proper use and often have devices that are inappropriate, damaged, or are of the incorrect height.

Methods

Selection of a suitable device depends on the patient's strength, endurance, balance, cognitive function, and environmental demands.

Results

anes can help redistribute weight from a lower extremity that is weak or painful, improve stability by increasing the base of support, and provide tactile information about the ground to improve balance. Crutches are useful for patients who need to use their arms for weight bearing and propulsion and not just for balance.


Walkers improve stability in those with lower extremity weakness or poor balance and facilitate improved mobility by increasing the patient's base of support and supporting the patient's weight. Walkers require greater attentional demands than canes and make using stairs difficult. The top of a cane or walker should be the same height as the wrist crease when the patient is standing upright with arms relaxed at his or her sides.

Conclusion

A cane should be held contralateral to a weak or painful lower extremity and advanced simultaneously with the contralateral leg. Clinicians should routinely evaluate their patients' assistive devices to ensure proper height, fit, and maintenance, and also counsel patients on correct use of the device.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Objective

An intelligent rollator (IRO) was developed that aims at obstacle detection and guidance to avoid collisions and accidental falls. The IRO is a retrofit four-wheeled rollator with an embedded computer, two solenoid brakes, rotation sensors on the wheels and IR-distance sensors.

Methods

The value reported by each distance sensor was compared in the computer to a nominal distance. Deviations indicated a present obstacle and caused activation of one of the brakes in order to influence the direction of motion to avoid the obstacle.

Results

The IRO was tested by seven healthy subjects with simulated restricted and blurred sight and five stroke subjects on a standardised indoor track with obstacles. All tested subjects walked faster with intelligence deactivated. Three out of five stroke patients experienced more detected obstacles with intelligence activated.

Conclusion

This suggests enhanced safety during walking with IRO. Further studies are required to explore the full value of the IRO.

Study Name

Publication

Institude of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Objective

In this context, the authors aim to propose a protocol for an innovative gait analysis that addresses some benefits and limitations of these devices on the rehabilitation process, by addressing a multivariate analysis of spatiotemporal and kinematic gait parameters assessed during normal and assisted ambulation with a walker with forearm supports.

Methods

For the 3D-reconstruction of the body segments it was used a movement analysis system.

Results

Results showed that the effects of assisted gait can be explained through support, energy consumption, posture and balance characteristics.

Conclusion

These results are very satisfactory since aspects regarding these characteristics enhance the rehabilitation potential of the use of walkers with forearm supports. These results will be used to advance towards an active robotic walker that will provide for safety and natural manoeuvrability and offer a certain degree of intelligence in assistance and decision-making.

Study Name

Publication

Spine Deformity

Objective

The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the benefits of walking sticks versus a walker on the trunk and lower extremity muscular control in patients with adult degenerative scoliosis (ADS).

Methods

Twenty ADS patients with symptomatic degenerative scoliosis performed over-ground walking at self-selected speed under 3 testing conditions: 1) with walking sticks (WS); 2) with walker (WR); and 3) without any device (ND). Trunk and lower extremity peak muscle activation, time to peak muscle activity, muscle duration, muscle onset, and integrated electromyography (iEMG) were measured and compared.

Results

The use of WS produced increases in muscle activity in the external oblique (WS: 44.3% vs. WR: 7.4% of submaximum voluntary contraction [sMVC], p = .007) and medial gastrocnemius (WS: 78.8% vs ND: 43.7% of sMVC, p = .027) in comparison to the walker and no device, respectively. When using WS, shorter muscle activity time was observed for rectus femoris (WS: 62.9% vs. WR: 88.8% of gait cycle, p = .001), semitendinosus (WS: 64.3% vs. WR: 93.0% of gait cycle, p = .003), tibialis anterius (WS: 59.4% vs. WR: 85.1% of gait cycle, p = .001), and medial gastrocnemius (WS: 67.3% vs. WR: 98.0% of gait cycle, p = .006) in comparison to the walker.

Conclusion

The use of walking sticks can potentially promote trunk and lower extremity neuromuscular control and gait mechanics comparable to gait without any assistive devices. Although the differences in magnitudes between comparisons were small and should be cautiously interpreted on a case-by-case basis, based on this study's results and our anecdotal experience treating patients with ADS, we recommend the use of walking sticks to assist with their gait prior to and after surgical intervention.

Study Name

Publication

The Korean Society of Physical Therapy

Objective

The present study was designed to investigate the effect of a Rollator on plantar pressure and foot balance during gait in older adults.

Methods

Twenty consecutive subjects (8 men, 12 women; age: 69.9±8.9) had the following measurements done: plantar pressure in 10 areas of the foot, foot balance including heel rotation, foot balance, forefoot balance, medial forefoot balance, and meta loading during gait with or without a Rollator.

Results

Significant differences in plantar pressure were observed in the areas of toes 2-5 or etatarsal areas 1, 4, 5 during gait with and without a Rollator. There were no significant differences in other areas of the foot. Regarding foot balance during gait with or without a Rollator, there were statistically significant differences in heel rotation, forefoot balance, medial forefoot balance, and meta loading.

Conclusion

For older adults, the use of a Rollator can decrease plantar pressure and increase foot balance in various foot areas.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Objective

To describe how men and women experience their use of powered wheelchairs (PW) and powered scooters (PS) in everyday occupations, in the home and in society at large.

Methods

A qualitative research approach with focus-group methodology was used. Four focus groups were created, with men and women as well as PW and PS users in different groups. Applying a descriptive approach, data were analysed according to the principles described by Krueger.

Results

Three categories emerged and revealed that even though use of PW and PS increased independence and enabled everyday occupations, participants struggled to be independent powered mobility device (PMD) users. They experienced many accessibility problems in dwellings and in society, described similarly by users of PW and PS. Men and women experienced their use of (PMD) differently, especially in relation to the service delivery process.

Conclusion

The study contributes with new knowledge on accessibility for PW and PS users and related service delivery processes, stating that gender differences regarding provision and training must be taken into account. Occupational therapists can contribute to an enhanced understanding of PMD users’ challenges in person–environment–occupation transactions in the home and society, and thereby promote occupational justice for PMD users.

Study Name

Publication

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Objective

To investigate the postural and metabolic benefits a walker with adjustable elbow support (LifeWalker [LW]) can provide for ambulation in population with impairment. The clinical outcomes from the elbow support walker will be compared with standard rollator (SR) and participants predicate device (PD).

Methods

Case-crossover study

Results

Ambulating with a LW led to (1) reduced trunk sway in the AP direction [(ZLW vs PD= −2.34, P=.018); (ZLW vs SR= −3.461, P=.001)]; (2) reduced erector spinae muscle activation at the left lumbar L3 level [(ZLW vs PD= −2.71, P=.007); (ZLW vs SR= −1.71, P=.09)]; and (3) improved gait efficiency [(ZLW vs PD= −2.66, P=.008) Oxygen cost; (ZLW Vs. SR= −2.66, P=.008) Oxygen cost]. Participants offloaded between 39% and 46% of their body weight through the elbow support armrest while ambulating with the LW. Irrespective of the walker used, participants exerted ∼5%-6% of their body weight in gripping the walker handles during walking.

Conclusion

Using the forearm support-based LW led to upright body posture, offloaded portions of body weight from the lower extremity, and improved gait efficiency during ambulation in comparison to the SR and the participants’ own PD. Further studies focusing on population-specific benefits are recommended.

Study Name

Publication

CHEST JOURNAL

Objective

This study was conducted to examine the short-term effects of using a rollator on functional exercise capacity among individuals with COPD and to characterize which individuals benefit most from its use.

Methods

Repeated-measures randomized crossover design using the 6-min walk test (6MWT) as the primary outcome measure.

Results

Use of the rollator was associated with a significant reduction in dyspnea (p < 0.001) and duration of rest (reduction for the total group, 19 s; and reduction for those who walked < 300 m unaided, 40 s; p = 0.001) during the 6MWT. For subjects who walked < 300 m unaided, there was also a significant improvement in distance walked (p = 0.02). No changes were found for the measures of cardiorespiratory function or gait (p > 0.05). The requirement to rest during an unaided 6MWT was a significant predictor of improved functional exercise capacity with the use of the rollator (p < 0.005). The majority of subjects whose unaided 6MWT distance was < 300 m preferred using the rollator to walking unaided.

Conclusion

Use of a rollator was effective in improving functional exercise capacity by reducing dyspnea and rest duration among stable individuals with severe COPD. Individuals who walked < 300 m and individuals who required a rest during an unaided 6MWT benefited the most from using a rollator in terms of reduced dyspnea, reduced rest time, and improved distance walked.

Study Name

Publication

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation: March-April 2006 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 107-111

Objective

To investigate whether the acute benefits of rollator use are consistent over time in individuals with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Methods

Thirty-one stable subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (13 men, 18 women), aged 68 ± 8 years, with a forced expiratory volume in 1 second of 0.7 ± 0.2 L (33% ± 12% predicted) and a baseline 6-minute walk (6MW) of 261 ± 68 m, were recruited from a respiratory clinic after completion of a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Two 6MWs were performed at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks, one walking unaided and the other walking with the assistance of a rollator. The test order was randomly chosen at baseline, and the same test order was used at each time point. The primary outcome measures were distance walked in 6 minutes (meters), perceived dyspnea using a modified Borg scale, and number of rests taken.

Results

Subjects achieved higher 6MW distances during assisted compared with unassisted walking at baseline (292 ± 67 vs 263 ± 67 m), 4 weeks (296 ± 62 vs 275 ± 63m), and 8 weeks (283 ± 65 vs 259 ± 68 m) (P = .013), with no time effect (P = .5). In addition, use of a rollator resulted in a significant improvement in dyspnea (P = .004) at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks, with no time effect (P = .7). The use of a rollator also reduced the number of rests taken during the 6MW (P < .001), with no time effect (P = .9).

Conclusion

Rollator use resulted in improvements in performance in the 6MW, which were consistent over time among individuals with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who walk less than 375 m during an unaided 6MW.

Study Name

Publication

CHEST JOURNAL

Objective

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of rollator use on health-related quality of life in patients with COPD.

Methods

Thirty-one postrehabilitation patients with COPD were randomized to receive a rollator (n = 18) or usual care (n = 13) for 8 weeks and to record the frequency of rollator use. Outcome measures at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks included the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) and the 6-min walk (6MW).

Results

During acute testing, subjects consistently walked further when assisted (baseline 6MW: 292 ± 67 m vs 263 ± 67 m; 8 weeks: 283 ± 65 m vs 259 ± 68 m [±SD]; p = 0.013). However, provision of a rollator at home was not associated with group differences in the CRQ (p > 0.08) or in the unassisted 6MW (p = 0.4) or the assisted 6MW (p = 0.5). Eight of 18 subjects assigned to the rollator group used the rollator less than three times per week. Regular users demonstrated a consistent improvement in mastery compared with infrequent users (4 weeks: 4.7 ± 0.6 vs 5.2 ± 0.8, respectively; 8 weeks: 5.3 ± 0.8 vs 4.7 ± 0.4; p = 0.014).

Conclusion

Despite evidence of effectiveness during acute testing, this study did not demonstrate a rollator effect on quality of life or exercise capacity when the rollator was provided at home, for a longer period. Actual use of a rollator may be an important determinant of its effect. Therefore, when prescribing a rollator, health-care professionals should attempt to identify those most likely to use it.

Study Name

Publication

Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies

Objective

To investigate the immediate effect of four-wheeled- walker(rollator)walking on lower-limb muscle activity and trunk-sway in healthy subjects.

Methods

In this cross-sectional design electromyographic (EMG) data was collected in six lower-limb muscle groups and trunk-sway was measured as peak-to-peak angular displacement of the centre-of-mass (level L2/3) in the sagittal and frontal-planes using the SwayStar balance system. 19 subjects walked at self-selected speed firstly without a rollator then in randomised order 1. with rollator 2. with rollator with increased weight-bearing.

Results

Rollator-walking caused statistically significant reductions in EMG activity in lower-limb muscle groups and effect-sizes were medium to large. Increased weight-bearing increased the effect. Trunk-sway in the sagittal and frontal-planes showed no statistically significant difference between conditions.

Conclusion

Rollator-walking reduces lower-limb muscle activity but trunk-sway remains unchanged as stability is likely gained through forces generated by the upper-limbs. Short-term stability is gained but the long-term effect is unclear and requires investigation.

Study Name

Publication

Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development

Objective

In a quasi-experimental pre- and postdesign, we
examined the effect of rollator use on functional rehabilitation
outcome in geriatric patients

Methods

From a sample of 458 geriatric inpatients, we matched 30 subjects who were not using assistive devices in their everyday lives but received a wheeled walker at the time of hospital admission (first-time user group) according to their admission scores on three motor performance tests (Timed Up-and-Go, Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand, and Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment–Balance) with
30 patients who were actively using rollators as their primary walking aid for at least 3 months (long-term user group) and 30 control subjects without walking-aid assistance

Results

Measurements were repeated after the inpatient rehabilitation regimen. The Kruskal-Wallis test did not reveal significant group differences in rehabilitation progress. Controls and device users, regardless of walking-aid experience, demonstrated nearly comparable mobility, strength, and balance improvements. More than half
of each cohort (controls, n = 22; first-time, n = 17; long-term, n =18) achieved functional gains in all three motor tests.

Conclusion

The study showed that rollator assistance does not interfere with rehabilitation outcome and, to some extent, legitimates the prescription of assistive devices to improve confidence and restore or maintain motor ability at the highest possible level.

Study Name

Publication

Elsevier Inc,Clinics in Chest Medicine

Objective

The aim of pulmonary rehabilitation is to improve the physical and psychological condition of people with chronic respiratory disease as well as promote long-term adherence to health-enhancing
behaviors

Methods

Exercise training is the cornerstone
of an effective pulmonary rehabilitation program

Results

Cell

Conclusion

Cell

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Objective

To describe the development and effects of a custom device designed to attach to a walker and provide visual feedback to encourage improved user position.

Methods

Fourteen older adults participated in this study to validate the effects of this device when a 10% decrease in the users’ habitual distance away from the walker was encouraged via feedback. Users’ relative distances were recorded using a non-contact distance sensor within the device, while kinematics were measured using commercial wearable wireless inertial sensors.

Results

Individuals were able to ambulate on average 20% closer or more to their walker when prescribed the visual feedback. This was primarily achieved through a reduction in shoulder flexion. Trunk and cervical postures were less generalizable as only small and variable changes were observed.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that the device has promise, as individuals attended to the device and walked in a position closer to that recommended by clinical guidelines. The device did not appear to improve posture. Future work is needed to determine long-term effects.

Study Name

Publication

CHEST JOURNAL

Objective

We analyzed the effects of the use of a rollator on walking distance and physiologic variables: pulmonary gas exchange, heart rate, minute ventilation (e), oxygen saturation, and symptoms during the 6-min walk test (6MWT) in patients with COPD.

Methods

Two 6MWTs were performed with a portable metabolic system (maxST 1.0; Viasys Healthcare; MEDA; Aartselaar, Belgium) with a rollator and without a rollator, in random order. In addition, maximal voluntary ventilation (MVV) was measured with and without a rollator, randomly.

Results

The median 6MWT distance increased significantly with a rollator: 416 m without a rollator (interquartile range [IQR], 396 to 435 m), vs 462 m with a rollator (IQR, 424 to 477 m) [p = 0.04]. Significant increases were also seen in oxygen uptake (0.04 L/min [IQR, − 0.002 to 0.09 L/min]); tidal volume (0.06 L/min [IQR, − 0.001 to 0.11 L/min]); and e (0.95 L/min [IQR, − 0.67 to 7.1 L/min]), recorded in the last minute of the 6MWT; as well as in MVV (3 L/min [IQR, 0 to 12 L/min]) [p < 0.05 for all]. Borg dyspnea scores tended to be lower with a rollator: 6 (IQR, 4 to 7) without a rollator, vs 5 (IQR, 4 to 7) with a rollator (p = 0.10). The variation in the 6MWT was explained by individual changes in walking efficiency (partial R2 = 0.31) and changes in e (partial R2 = 0.36) [p model < 0.04].

Conclusion

The use of a rollator improves walking distance of patients with COPD through an increased ventilatory capacity and/or better walking efficiency.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Objective

Despite the common use of rollators (four-wheeled walkers), understanding their effects on gait and balance is limited to laboratory testing rather than everyday use. This study evaluated the utility of an ambulatory assessment approach to examine balance and mobility in everyday conditions compared to a laboratory assessment.

Methods

Standing and walking with a rollator was assessed in three neurological rehabilitation in-patients under two conditions: (1) in laboratory (i.e. forceplate, GaitRite), and (2) while performing a natural walking course within and outside of the institution. An instrumented rollator (iWalker) was used to measure variables related to the balance control (e.g. upper limb kinetics), destabilizing events (e.g. stumbling), and environmental context.

Results

Two of three patients demonstrated greater reliance on the rollator for standing balance (2.3–5.9 times higher vertical loading, 72–206% increase in COP excursion) and 29–42% faster gait during the walking course compared to the laboratory. Importantly, destabilizing events (collisions, stumbling) were recorded during the walking course. Such events were not observed in the laboratory.

Conclusion

This study illustrated a greater reliance on the rollator during challenges in everyday use compared to laboratory assessment and provided evidence of specific circumstances associated with destabilizing events that may precipitate falls in non-laboratory settings.

Study Name

Publication

Institude of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Objective

This study described the development of the design of an ergonomic adult walker that improved the maneuverability and stability and reduced the risk of pain and discomfort to its geriatric users. The current design of the walker was validated if it caused pain and discomfort to the different body parts of the users. Risks encountered and the factors that contributed to the discomfort of the users were also identified and analyzed.

Methods

A survey was conducted using likert-based and Nordic questionnaire to assess the discomfort, pain and potential risks of certain body parts of the user.

Results

Quality Function Deployment was used to incorporate the needs of the users with regards to the features of the product. Rapid Entire Body Assessment was conducted to assess the postural risks and to identify the health risks that may develop with respect to the posture of the user. Anthropometric measurements were also determined to know the optimal dimension of the adult walker that will minimize the discomfort experienced. The proposed ergonomically designed walker successfully decreased the potential risk of having MSDs, pain, and discomfort and made it convenient to use.

Conclusion

Cost-benefit analysis and the Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) were also made to assess and compare the strengths, benefits, and weaknesses of the current and proposed design of the walker.

Study Name

Publication

Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

Objective

Compare two types of walker in regards to energy cost produced during gait in weakened elderly individuals.

Methods

Thirty subjects over the age of 65 (six men and 24 women, mean age 81.9 years) were admitted in geriatrics care. They all required a walker and performed the same 10-m course with a fixed walker, then with a model bearing front wheels. The walking speed (S) was computed, heart rate at rest (HRrest) and maximum heart rate (HRmax) were recorded during the test. The physiological cost index (PCI = HRmax − HRrest/S) was calculated. Finally a timed get-up-and-go (TGUG) test was performed with each of these technical aids.

Results

With a rollator walker, HRmax was lower (P < 0.05) and S higher (P < 0.001). It was 2.01 with a fixed walker versus 1.23 with a rollator walker (P < 0.01). We found this speed difference during the TGUG test (72.26 sec vs. 82.93 sec, P = 0.001).

Conclusion

There are very little studies on the evaluation of physiological energy cost produced during gait with a walker. The characteristics of our population did not allow us to conduct our test without a technical aid. The use of a fixed walker leads to a major increase in gait PCI, probably due to the required repeated efforts for lifting the walker. This model must be avoided in case of cardiac or respiratory disorders.


1 thought on “Rollator Walkers – Directory of Scientific Studies”

  1. I am in need of a walker. The bearings are no good on the front 2 wheels and I have been on the internet all day trying to find a place to repair but have run out of patience. I live in winter park by myself. I have no one to help me. If someone could order the 4 bearings and fix the chair. I would be so grateful. I will pay you. I need it right away. I have a pro basis by phi. Model # Rep 1025. It has the seat I need. Pls respond ASAP. Thnx.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *